The Daily Politics – NY Daily News.

Johnson Praises A Real Housewife, Hedges On Paterson

May 5, 2009

Sen. Craig Johnson appeared this morning with his “good friend” Jill Zarin, of Real Housewives of NYC fame, to tout a proposed ban on Styrofoam in schools while also continuing to say the proof will be in the pudding when it comes to the MTA deal.

Asked if his reluctance to officially sign off on the tentative bailout agreement announced last night until he sees bill language is an indication that he doesn’t trust Gov. David Paterson to make good on his promise to hold harmless school districts in the 12-county MTA service area, Johnson replied:

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“This is about more than just what somebody puts in a press release,” Johnson said. “This is about how legislation gets done. It’s not done orally…I’m simply saying, you know, that’s not how I work as a legislator. I’m somebody who’s an attorney. I like to see what the language looks like.”

Johnson said he hasn’t yet seen any language and couldn’t predict when that might occur. Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith said last night he expected the bill would be drafted by Wednesday.

Johnson also predicted that the cost of making whole schools subjected to the payroll tax – now tagged at somwhere near $60 million – will likely “have to grow to reflect changes in payroll,” adding: “That’s part and parcel to driving a hard bargain.”

Asked where the money might come from, especially given the state’s current fiscal woes, Johnson replied: “It’s the obligation of the governor and of other interested parties to come up with the money to protect the school districts.”

On the Styrofoam bill, which isn’t actually a Johnson initiative. It’s being championed by Sen. Liz Krueger, who wasn’t at the Zarin press conference, although Sen. Tom Duane – apparently a Real Housewives fan – did put in an appearance.

Johnson explained he had been introduced to Zarin by Empire State Pride Agenda Executive Director Alan Van Capelle and learned that her daughter, Allyson Shapiro, was interested in pushing the initiative. (Spelling error fixed).

Allyson, a high school junior, and two of her friends will be lobbying lawmakers today on the bill.